- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PARIS (AP) - Iran says it has protested to the Cannes Film Festival over its decision to ban director Lars von Trier for saying he sympathized with Adolf Hitler.

Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency says deputy culture minister Javad Shamaqdari wrote to festival president Gilles Jacob saying Cannes had smirched its history by expelling the director.

Cannes banished von Trier after he told reporters that while Hitler “did some wrong things,” he could “sympathize with him a little bit.”

He later apologized and said it was a joke gone wrong.

In response to the Iranian letter, von Trier said Tuesday that his remarks were “unintelligent, ambiguous and needlessly hurtful.”

The festival included films by two Iranian directors who have been jailed by the country’s Islamic regime.

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